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Lessons From Inspirational Women In STEM: “If girls and young women are not engaged in STEM subjects while in middle and high school, they are at an academic and later economic disadvantage” With Elizabeth Venturini and Penny Bauder

Most of the highest paying jobs come from degrees in STEM. If girls and young women are not engaged in STEM subjects while in middle and high school, they are at an academic and later economic disadvantage. A good understanding of STEM in middle school prepares girls for more advanced classes in high school. This […]


Most of the highest paying jobs come from degrees in STEM. If girls and young women are not engaged in STEM subjects while in middle and high school, they are at an academic and later economic disadvantage. A good understanding of STEM in middle school prepares girls for more advanced classes in high school. This can help them do better on college entrance exams and receiving higher GPAs. Now when they apply for college, they have more college choices because colleges want smart students. And best of all, to get smart students, colleges will provide them with merit aid (that’s academic lingo for free money for good test scores and grades). Parents love that!


I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Venturini. Elizabeth is a College Career Strategist and creator of Dream Schools to Go™. Elizabeth supports stressed out, timed-starved, and high achieving parents who want the best college and career options for their teenagers. She is dedicated to helping parents have peace of mind getting their child into college and graduate with a degree to succeed in today’s competitive workforce.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career path?

I had built up a solid marketing career working for large Fortune 500 companies. In 2009 after investing several years working for others, I was laid off. If I didn’t re-invent myself, nobody else would. I discovered parents everywhere are stressed-out about getting their teens into college. But they didn’t have the time to understand how the college admissions process worked. My company, CollegeCareerResults provides a private mentoring program to take away the stress of parents with college-bound teens. I provide them the answers they need about colleges, and the best programs and career paths for their kids based on their kids’ interests and talents.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The credibility I have received from helping reporters with stories on education. Most recently the Operations Varsity Blues scandal. My comments were in several high-profile media sources including the New York Post, China Daily, and an interview spot on the BBC International World News. It has taken ten years for me to receive that type of press attention.

Can you share a story about the funniest or most interesting mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I failed to realize there can be a major disconnect between kids and their parents when it comes to college and career goals. For example, when I first started, I counseled a distraught mother who told me her teenage daughter didn’t want to go to college. She wanted to join the circus and be a trapeze artist.

I needed to do more than just provide college admissions. There were many times over a kitchen table that I “negotiated” the college major choices and decisions of students and their parents. The lesson I learned was to never destroy the dream of a student — but to provide them with the information they needed to make the right decisions.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am finishing a book to help stressed out Chinese moms get their teens into US colleges as they want more than just having their teens gain admittance. They want them to take their rightful place in the world after college. And they want them to do it with happiness, confidence, and ease. This book helps moms prepare their teens with more college and career options than they thought possible. And it gives moms peace of mind knowing that they prepared their son or daughter for the rich life they always dreamed for them since the day they were born.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are authority in the education field?

I earned the College Admissions Certificate from the University of California Los Angeles for the privilege of helping stressed out parents with their teens. I devoted 1,500 plus hours of year-long academic study, backed up by researching and writing hundreds of articles on college admissions. Parents are receiving specialized knowledge from someone who has provided more college admissions solutions to families than they can imagine.

I am also certified to administer the Strong Interest Inventory© and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessments which place me in a higher echelon than most private college admissions counselors. Known as The College Career Strategist, I help parents and students focus on the end result of receiving a college education — a job after graduation. My essential advice to parents and students is this, “It’s not about getting your teens into college — it’s getting them out with a job.”

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. From your point of view, how would you rate the results of the US education system?

On a scale of one to ten with ten being the highest I give the US education system a five, and here is my reason:

According to the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States in 2015–16 amounted to $706 billion, or $13,847 per public school student enrolled in the fall (in constant 2017–18 dollars).1

But when we compare the academic abilities of our kids to kids from other countries, we are in the middle according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, “The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.”2

(1) U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cmb.asp

(2) https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/

Can you identify 5 areas of the US education system that are going really great?

I think we do better in these three areas:

– We recognize learning disabilities and we help students so they can go to college, graduate with a degree, do meaningful work, and become a valuable member of society.

– We encourage critical thinking instead of rote memory, so students are a little more prepared to think on their own when they take college classes.

– We realize students learn in many different ways, so we offer many options for learning such as public schools, private schools, charter schools, homeschooling, and online schools.

Can you identify the 5 key areas of the US education system that should be prioritized for improvement? Can you explain why those are so critical?

Focus on writing and math skills because outside of high school people do not write in soundbites; we need more math so we can stay competitive with other countries.

Outsource subject matter expertise to working professionals so students can learn from people who actually are doing the work.

Provide career development so students can start preparing for their careers before they leave high school.

Place more value on vocational training; there are still jobs that require a set of human hands and pay quite well.

Stress importance of the arts to increase creativity and to show respect to our culture.

How is the US doing with regard to engaging young people in STEM? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

I think schools are improving but it is always dependent on how much money is available and if the school really believes there is a need. To increase engagement, we can:

Organize field trips so students can see what STEM companies or organizations actually do on a daily basis.

Invite STEM guest speakers to discuss what they do, how they do it, why it is important, and salary expectations.

Outsource STEM classes to professionals who are in the business, so students are taught by people actually doing the work.

Can you articulate to our readers why it’s so important to engage girls and women in STEM subjects?

Most of the highest paying jobs come from degrees in STEM. If girls and young women are not engaged in STEM subjects while in middle and high school, they are at an academic and later economic disadvantage. A good understanding of STEM in middle school prepares girls for more advanced classes in high school. This can help them do better on college entrance exams and receiving higher GPAs. Now when they apply for college, they have more college choices because colleges want smart students. And best of all, to get smart students, colleges will provide them with merit aid (that’s academic lingo for free money for good test scores and grades). Parents love that!

How is the US doing with regard to engaging girls and women in STEM subjects? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

I think schools are improving.

To increase engagement, I would ask women from local STEM companies or organizations to come in and speak at student assemblies about their education, jobs and expected salaries.

Take high school girls on field trips to local STEM companies or organizations and see what women actually do on a daily basis and the products and services they produce.

Show the salary differences in STEM careers versus those that are not and how much income girls and women may lose over their lifetime.

As an education professional, where do you stand in the debate whether there should be a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or on STEAM (STEM plus the arts like humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media)? Can you explain why you feel the way you do?

I am a “STEAMer”

From my experience as a college career strategist, not all students want to be software developers or engineers and that is okay, we all have different interests and talents. However, I believe all jobs use technology in some way. So, it is important to know some applications that will help even non-technical students and graduates stand out among other job seekers. Applications include word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentations, video, and office management.

I tell all students that knowing the arts is class. It is a powerful way to build up confidence as they meet people who can help them in college, their career, and their social life. Knowing the arts can help them with the art of conversation in academic, career, and social situations. You need to be more than a good-looking girl or guy who has nothing valuable to say.

If you had the power to influence or change the entire US educational infrastructure what five things would you implement to improve and reform our education system? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Require at least one music class be taken by students for high school graduation. If students don’t know music theory, how to sing, or play an instrument than learn. Nothing shows more class and is more of an icebreaker at social events than demonstrating musical talent. But if you are not musically inclined, at least take a music appreciation class and learn about the different styles and periods of music.

Provide more reputable interest assessments starting at 14 years of age, not some woo-woo, 25-questions, “find your dream job” tests that you find in a teen magazine. I should also state that there is no assessment or test available that will exactly pinpoint exactly a teen’s future career. But what a teen can get from a professional interests assessment is a platform with college major and career possibilities. And that is what makes them useful.

Offer more career development courses so students can make better choices about college majors, schools, possible careers, salary expectations, and combining skills and talents. How to write a resume, search for a job, and answer interview questions. They need this information so they can have a college career plan before they leave high school not after they graduate.

Deliver financial planning classes so students understand money. Classes don’t need to be at the level of an MBA. But students should know how to open a savings or checking account. How to balance a checkbook. The importance of credit cards and why a student needs a good credit rating. Students should know about student loans, what they are, how do they work, and their financial terms. If they get a part-time job, they should know how to read a payroll stub.

And as old-fashioned as this may appear, schools should provide an etiquette class! Etiquette matters more than ever in today’s technology-charged society. We are in an age when it is second nature for so many young people to text, rather than talk. Knowing business etiquette is critical for teens as they prepare for college and future employment. And in today’s tight job market it’s vital to show poise, know basic etiquette, and have good manners. No matter how technically brilliant teens think they are, a lack of business and social skills could hold them back from prime academic, social, and future career opportunities.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Ten years ago, my Mother told me, “Get out there and do great things.” Since that time, I have stepped out of my comfort zone to re-invent my career, get featured in leading publications and media outlets, and appear on worldwide news stations. But nothing is as exciting as hearing my students with big smiles on their faces say, “I Got Accepted!” to their dream school.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I have two categories and I have to list them all in case one of them reads this article!

VC Funding:

Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chair of Alibaba Group. I want to hear more of his beliefs on how students should be taught values, care for others, and learn the arts.

Entertainment:

Yuja Wang, concert pianist. I want to learn her practice routine, and how she can play in those five-inch stiletto high heels!

Amy Chua, author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” I want to hear any additional thoughts she may have on how Chinese Moms raise their children for academic success.

Keith Richards, guitarist for the Rolling Stones. I caught his guitar pick at a concert, and I want him to personally autograph it for me.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Readers can follow me at:

On the Web www.CollegeCareerResults.com

Email [email protected]

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CollegeCareerResults-330532503628365/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/collegecareerresults/?hl=en

Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethventurini/

Twitter https://twitter.com/elizabethventu2?lang=en

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE1qktB3I-zoCicx8g6JyNA

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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